PM ERDOGAN MADE OFFICIAL CONTACTS IN BRUSSEL
Erdogan and his delegation including Minister for EU Affairs Egemen Bagis, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan , Minister of State Said Yazicioglu visited Brussel.
During his speech to Turkish NGO delegates in Belgium, Erdogan mentioned that Alliance of Civilization, which is Turkey's and Spain's joint project, aims at easing conflicts between different civilizations. Erdogan also described the EU accession process as a "top priority" for Turkey.
Reminding the appointment of Egemen Bagis as a full-time EU negotiator immediately after the National Plan came into force, Erdogan said that he believes 2009 will be a strategic year for Turkey's EU accession process. He described the launch of a Kurdish TV station, TRT 6, as a roadmap for following reforms which are planned to be made next 4 years.
Erdogan and his delegation came together with President of European Commission Jose Manuel Durao Barosso. Indicating Turkey's determination on making reforms, Erdogan said how to advance cooperation and build up momentum is the concern of the meeting.
Citing several developments which recently took place in Turkey such as the launch of a Kurdish TV station and the restoration of famous Turkish poet Nazım Hikmet's citizenship, Erdogan stressed that Turkey is focusing on advancing democracy, basic rights and freedoms.
Underlining concerns on recent energy problems such as shortage on natural gas "Nabucco Project is significant to provide safety in supply, and we will give full support to the project." said Erdogan. He also added that Turkey is ready to cooperate to help overcome global economic crisis.
Barroso also stressed the importance of recent reforms in Turkey such as the launch of a Kurdish TV station and the appointment of Egemen Bagis as the chief EU negotiator.
Minister for EU Affairs Egemen Bagis pointed out Turkey's progress in democracy, comparing the past conditions with that of today's, adding that the progress is advantageous for both Turkey and EU. Bagis also stated EU which includes Turkey would be a "union of civilizations" and said they will carry on EU reforms for the benefit of Turkish citizens.